Feds release $274 million for cleanup at abandoned mines

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky will be receiving $31 million to clean up abandoned coal mine sites that are threatening the public and the environment.

That's almost three times the $13 million marked for Kentucky for the previous fiscal year.

Altogether, the federal government has released more than $250 million in funding to clean up such mine sites.

The $274 million for fiscal 2008 is twice what was available for the previous year. Officials say there's more money for coal-mining states after a 2006 federal amendment made funding to coal states mandatory. The increase also includes money owed to states that was unappropriated over the years.

Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mine Lands Director Steve Hohmann says the money will go toward several proposals, including $20 million in tentative water line projects in areas that lost water supply due to mine activity.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)